Felice Giani, born in
San Sebastiano Curone in 1758, was a pupil of Carlo Bianchi and
Antonio Galli Bibiena in Pavia, then around 1778 of Domenico Pedrini
and the Gandolfis in Bologna, and finally from 1780 of Pompeo
Batoni, Cristoforo Unterberger, and Giuseppe Antolini at the Accademia
di San Luca in Rome. Important painted decorations exist by him
in the Palazzo Altieri, the Palazzo di Spagna, and the Palazzo del
Quirinale. After 1800 he went to Paris where he executed decorations
for Napoleon at the Tuileries and at Malmaison. After his return
to Italy, he worked on decorations in many north Italian cities.
He died in Rome in 1823.
It is Gianis fertility
of invention and his power as a draughtsman which have made his
drawings of exceptional collecting interest. The present drawing
shows Gianis great imagination and also sense of humor. His
figurative style of drawing can be loosely considered Neo-Classical;
while in Italy he is sometimes termed a pre-Romantic.
The present drawing
can be compared to three drawings in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum of
Design in New York, the Decoration for a Triumphal Arch,
the Spandrel Decoration for a Triumphal Arch
and the Segmented Triangular Decoration for a Vaulted Ceiling
(inv.nos. 1901-39-3251, 1901-39-1356, and
1901-39-1662). Another important comparison is the drawing in the
Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi in Florence showing the
Necromancer. Since all these drawings are dated
around 1810, a similar dating should be assigned to this drawing.